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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Classified #54

JLA: Classified #54

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 12, 2008

Cover date: May 2008

"That Was Now, This is Then" - Part Five: "Final Justice"

Writter: Roger Stern
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Mark Farmer

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

In the past Green Lantern forms a giant, green dome to protect his teammates from the rigors of the airless Moon. The League attacks in force, but Titus proves too powerful. They finally use deception to distract him and the Flash is able to grab Titus' scepter, but isn't able hold on to it for long. The scepter flies back to its master before Black Canary unleashes her sonic cry. With the help of the Flash and Green Lantern the sound waves shatter Titus' weapon, which blinds Titus and causes him to run out of Green Lantern's protective sphere. He crashes into a mountain side and is buried under tons of lunar rock. Later, after the Leagues checks in on the archeological team that discovered Titus they discuss faith, the League and its role in the world. In the end Superman and Batman decide to become more involved with the League.

In the present the League is once again facing Titus on the lunar surface. John Stewart forms constructs shaped like the original League and draws Titus back into the Watchtower where the supposed god finds himself faced with more constructs. Suddenly the constructs attack and are revealed to be the actual League bathed in green light. They attack in force and lead Titus deeper into the Watchtower where he is seemingly confronted by Selene, goddess of the Moon. "Selene" staggers Titus, surprising the god, and he charges. He falls into the League's trap as Green Lantern encases him in a makeshift prison and the Flash hops on to the Cosmic Treadmill. The transport grid was calibrated for maximum dispersal and as Titus breaks free of the Lantern's prison his energies are fed into the grid causing the grid spreads his essence through space the Cosmic Treadmill spread it through time. Later the League repairs the Watchtower and discusses the state of their security, the status of supposedly dead enemies and the dangers of trying to amass too much power.

4Story - 4: Well, if you're going to end a story and a series in one shot then this is definitely the way to do it.

I'm a little conflicted on how to feel about this issue on a number of fronts. It was a fine conclusion to the story (or the stories I guess) and all and I really have no complaints as to how this arc ended. Stern played to the strengths of the Justice League as a team and I especially liked the various tricks he had them use like John Stewart creating constructs of the original League and then coating the current JLA to trick Titus and how he not only got rid of Titus with some good, old fashioned comic book science but tied that into the prophesy from last issue. Also I enjoyed the rhyming of the past and present. It made for a more coherent read. So this was not only a very satisfying issue but a satisfying story arc as well.

The first conflict comes from the split screen effect. I just didn't like it. I mean it makes sense so I can't argue with it on that level. It was also an effective way to convey the two conclusions into one package. I'm just not a big fan of it as a storytelling tool. It's not that find it too confusing or anything as both stories were easy to follow and it is kind of interesting on a stylistic level. I just don't like having to decide if I am going to read the thing all at once and jump between the two timelines or read one and then go back and read the other.

Of course, if that's the biggest problem I have then things are trucking along just fine.

Now this is the point in the review where I feel this bizarre need to write how sad it is that this title is ending and wax philosophical about how I loved reviewing it and will miss doing so on a monthly to bi-weekly basis.

The problem is I really don't feel that way. It's not that I hated reviewing this book. I didn't. In my time here as a Mild Mannered Reviewer there is only one book I didn't like reviewing and that was COUNTDOWN. JLA CLASSIFIED started out as a great title. I came on during the "I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League" arc, which is a story I have a great amount of affection for to this day. The problem is that over the past few years, since about 2005, this title has been a frustrating book to follow. The rotating story arcs and creative staff made for a haphazard read at best. There were few really solid stories in there, but because of the near anthology nature of the book it was hard to get emotionally invested. Frankly if I wasn't reviewing the book I doubt I would have been buying it for this long.

So I am kind of bummed that I am losing a reviewing gig.

On the other the book should have been cancelled about two years ago.

It was a nice idea, but I don't think it ever lived up to its potential. Maybe if they had done more stories involving the League's history as a whole instead of focusing on the 2000-2005 version of the team then it would have been more enjoyable. Maybe if it wasn't comprised mainly of stories that seemed like they were originally written for JLA when it became a rotating story arc book before INFINITE CRISIS I would have liked it more. I don't know.

Oh well. At least there's still JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and SUPERMAN/BATMAN.

So good-bye, JLA CLASSIFIED. You had a lot going for you but here at the end I just can't get choked up at your passing.

4Art - 4: As with the previous four chapters I dug the art. Byrne and Farmer continue to make a good team and I liked how in this final chapter each character got a chance to shine. As I noted earlier in this review I am not the biggest fan of the split screen effect but the artists made good use of it. Nice job.

4Cover Art - 4: This was the best cover of this particular arc and like the story a good cover for this title to go out on. Sure Titus has that, "I ate something that didn't quite agree with me," look that most cosmic villains have, but other than that I have no complaints.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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